Strawberry Tanghulu, also known as Chinese candied hawthorn berries, takes fresh fruit and drapes it in a glistening, shatteringly crisp sugar shell for a sweet and crunchy snack.
Today, we're transforming juicy strawberries into dazzling jewels with our easy Tanghulu recipe.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Strawberries work beautifully for making tanghulu, as their sweetness pairs perfectly with the crunchy sugar coating. The soft texture of the berries creates a delightful contrast to the candy shell.
Plus, they're readily available year-round, making this recipe a perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth anytime.
- It's a fun activity to do with kids, and the vibrant red candied strawberries make a beautiful addition to any party or dessert table.
- The juicy sweetness of fresh strawberries perfectly complements the crisp, candy shell, creating a delightful textural and flavor contrast.
- Strawberry tanghulu is undeniably eye-catching. The bright red glistening fruit create a visually stunning treat that's perfect for parties, or as a unique and homemade gift.
What Is Tanghulu?
Tanghulu has a rich history and cultural significance in China, adding a layer of interest and appreciation for those who enjoy learning about different cultures through food.
Literally translating to "candied hawthorn," Tanghulu traditionally uses hawthorn berries dipped in a hardened sugar syrup. The skewers of candied fruit are a popular street food in China.
Today, various fruits like strawberries, grapes, pineapple chunks, and even blueberries are dipped in the sugar syrup.These skewers of dazzling candied strawberries easy and fun to make, and will delight both kids and adults.
Ingredients To Make Tanghulu
- Fresh strawberries: Choose firm, ripe berries with vibrant color.
- Granulated sugar: Regular white sugar is perfect for this recipe.
- Water: Creates the base for the sugar syrup.
- Optional: Vanilla extract or cinnamon can add an extra touch.
Optional: Consider adding a splash of lemon juice or vinegar to the syrup for a touch of tartness, or experiment with food coloring for vibrant hues.
Full ingredient amounts and preparation instructions are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How To Make Strawberry Tanghulu
Making Tanghulu is a fun activity to share with friends and family, perfect for birthday parties, Valentine's day, or simply a sweet treat on a weekend afternoon.
Prepare The Strawberries
- Wash and dry them thoroughly. You can leave the stems on or remove them for easier dipping.
- Thread two strawberries on each of the skewers and set aside while you prepare the syrup.
PRO TIP: If you cut the hulls off, blot the cut as dry as possible with a paper towel before threading on the skewer and dipping.
Make The Sugar Syrup
Combine the sugar and water in a heavy bottom sauce pan on a medium-high heat.
- Heat the sugar and water over medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves and becomes clear.
- Bring the sugar and water mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes.
PRO TIP: If desired, add a few drops of food coloring to the syrup for a pop of color.
Dip And Coat The Berries
- Test the syrup temperature by dipping a spoon in and letting the coating harden. If it becomes brittle in a few seconds, it's ready! Dip each strawberry carefully, coating it completely.
Cool And Enjoy
- Let the coated strawberries cool on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Once the sugar hardens, you're ready to indulge!
Tips for Success
Here are a few tips for making this fun Chinese street food snack:
- Temperature is key: The sugar syrup needs to be hot enough to coat the strawberries but not so hot that it burns them. Aim for the hard crack stage with a temperature between 300°F and 310°F.
- Work quickly: The sugar syrup hardens quickly, so dip and coat the strawberries swiftly.
- Dip other fruits: Experiment with different fruits, food colors, and flavorings to personalize your Tanghulu.
Substitutions and Variations
- Feel free to explore different fruits like grapes, oranges, or even kiwi.
- Remember to adjust the dipping time depending on the size and firmness of the fruit.
While strawberries are the traditional choice today, your world of tanghulu is wide open! Experiment with other fruits like grapes, blueberries, or even mandarin orange segments. Just make sure they are firm enough to hold the skewer and not too juicy.
Share your colorful creations with friends and family, and watch their faces light up with each delicious bite. Happy candy making!
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Equipment can have a big impact on how a recipe turns out. Below are some of my favorite pieces of equipment that I use when making this candied fruit recipe.
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- Tanghulu can be stored at room temperature for up to a day, but enjoy them fresh for the best texture.
Frequently Asked Questions
Aim for 300°F to 310°F for the perfect consistency. If it's too cool, the coating won't harden properly. If it's too hot, it can cook the strawberries or burn you.
This depends on the thickness of the coating and the ambient temperature. Allow at least 20 - 30 minutes for them to cool and harden completely before enjoying.
Don't worry, it happens! Reheat the syrup gently over low heat, stirring constantly. You can also add a few drops of lemon juice or corn syrup to help prevent crystallization.
Make sure your strawberries are completely dry before dipping them. If you hulled the strawberries, thread them on the skewer so that the berries touch end-to-end before dipping.
More Delish Ideas
- 1½ cup water
- ¾ cup sugar white granulated
- 1 lb strawberries washed and dried
- ½ teaspoon vanilla or lemon juice
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan and set aside.
- In a heavy bottom sauce pan, add the water and sugar.1½ cup water, ¾ cup sugar
- Heat the sugar water mixture on medium heat and let it cook for 20 minutes, or until it reaches 300℉ - 310℉ (hard crack stage).
- While the sugar water is cooking, wash the strawberries. You can slice the hulls off, use a hull remover (less exposed cut fruit), or leave the stems on.1 lb strawberries
- Thread two strawberries onto each skewer. If you sliced the hulls off, make sure to have the berries pushed close, touching end to end so that the candy coating sticks better, as the moisture from the cuts can prevent the candy sticking.
- Once your sugar water has reached 300℉, it will be a light amber color. Remove from the heat and add any flavorings like vanilla or lemon juice. Stir well to mix in.½ teaspoon vanilla
- Dip each skewer of strawberries quickly into the hot syrup. You can use a spoon or ladle to cover areas hard to dip. Drain excess and set on the parchment covered sheet pan to cool.
- The sugar syrup needs to be hot enough to coat the strawberries but not so hot that it burns them. Aim for the hard crack stage with a temperature between 300°F and 310°F.
- The sugar syrup hardens quickly, so dip and coat the strawberries swiftly.
- Experiment with different fruits, food colors, and flavorings to personalize your Tanghulu.